Addiction Treatment in Laguna Hills, California
LAGUNA HILLS MEDICATION-ASSISTED TREATMENT
Treatment of opioid addiction and alcohol addiction begins with a detox period before entering rehabilitation and recovery. Unfortunately, that first step of detoxification can cause harsh withdrawal symptoms, making relapse and re-use much more appealing to the addicted mind.
Thankfully, an approach called medication-assisted treatment (MAT) can help decrease withdrawal symptoms in treatment of opioid dependency or alcohol dependency. Medication-assisted treatment is an evidence based drug addiction treatment approach that uses FDA approved medications in conjunction with behavioral and psychological therapy.
And MAT doesn’t only help with detox; it’s been proven to increase long term sobriety in people with opioid use disorders and alcohol use disorders.
In patients with significant dependencies, we may suggest this treatment program to help break the vicious relapse cycle.
ALCOHOL AND OPIOID USE DISORDERS
Opioids can reprogram the brain’s motivations due to their intense levels of positive reinforcement. Opioids can also cause strong physical dependencies within as little as 4–8 weeks.
The outcome of these rewirings and continued use can cause a real medically diagnosed disorder called Opioid Use Disorder (OUD). This problematic chronic disorder can cause relapse, disability, overdose, and death.
The result of this can make treating opioid use disorders very difficult.
Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD) is defined by a loss of control that causes compulsive alcohol use, overdrinking, and troubling emotions when sober. Nearly 15 million adults in the U.S. had AUD in 2018.
Both substance use disorders have different severities characterized by:
- Unsuccessful usage control
- Dosage amount
- Withdrawal symptoms
- Problems with relationships
- Problems with responsibility
- Lack of pleasure in everyday life
- And more
Fortunately, even in severe cases, MAT has been seen by the medical society to help patients control and overcome use disorders.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF MAT?
Some people may see medication-assisted treatment as substituting one drug for another. However, when carefully administered by professionals, these medications have proven to:
- reduce overdoses
- reduce cravings
- help people ultimately live autonomous lifestyles independent from drugs and alcohol.
Part of the magic comes from comfortably transitioning patients to a non-intoxicated lifestyle. MAT medications curb cravings and do so without the powerful euphoric effects of narcotics like opioids and opiates.
Because of its success in the treatment of alcohol and opioid dependency, three different government agencies all advocate medication-assisted treatment:
DIFFERENT MAT MEDICINES
There are many different medication-assisted treatment medications, but the most popular and recommended are naltrexone, buprenorphine, naloxone, and methadone. They are all effective treatment options, but they do work quite differently.
Naltrexone is the one MAT medicine that can be used for both alcohol use disorders and opioid use disorders.
It is an opioid antagonist, meaning it binds to opioid receptors but blocks euphoria. So if a patient did relapse, naltrexone works to fend off the high produced by the abused drug. It is also useful to reduce cravings in alcohol use disorders.
Naltrexone often is used as a once-daily pill. An extended-release injection known as Vivitrol® can also keep the medicine working for a month at a time.
Buprenorphine helps to reduce the physical dependence on opioids and opiates as well as calm cravings. As a partial opioid agonist, it is slightly euphoric but substantially weaker than full opioid agonists.
Due to its long-lasting effects, patients may not have to use it every day. Alternate-day use can aid in breaking the habitual act of using illicit drugs.
Buprenorphine treatment occurs in three stages: An Induction Stage, a Stabilization Stage, and a Maintenance Stage.
In the Induction Stage, the medicine is carefully administered by a certified OTP to a patient in the early phases of withdrawal.
Next is the Stabilization Stage. Here, the patient has discontinued drug abuse and curbed cravings. Professionals might adjust the dosage, and alternate-day administration may be adopted.
Finally, in the Maintenance Stage, patients may discontinue MAT or continue at a steady dose to avoid possible relapse.
Similar to naltrexone, naloxone is also an opioid antagonist and fights the euphoric feelings of opioids and opiates.
It’s commonly paired with buprenorphine to eliminate its euphoric effects and prevent the patient from getting high on a relapse. Suboxone® is one brand name that uses both. It’s a sublingual film that is four parts buprenorphine and one part naloxone. We typically recommend Suboxone® in our MAT opioid treatment programs for patients with mild to severe addictions.
You may have also heard of NARCAN®: the medicine used to reverse the effects of an opioid overdose. NARCAN® is an emergency fast-acting nasal spray used to save lives, but it’s not necessarily part of MAT. However, it is useful to have on hand in relapse and overdose emergencies.
Methadone works by fooling the brain into thinking it’s getting its old opioid or opiate. It’s a full opioid agonist but doesn’t get the patient high. The person on methadone would feel healthy and would avoid enduring withdrawal.
According to NIDA, methadone treatment should last a minimum of 12 months, though longer-term maintenance may be required. Gradual dosage reduction supervised by a MAT physician can help patients eventually get back to a drug-free lifestyle.
IS MAT RIGHT FOR YOU?
Depending on you or your loved one’s drug addiction, MAT may be the right choice for mental health and substance issue control. Counseling and behavioral therapy always come first in our team’s mission to help others overcome addiction, but certain circumstances do warrant medications in combination with our addiction treatment.
In cases where it’s merited, insurance can save the day and help pay. Thanks to new health care laws, these medication-assisted treatment plans have increased access nationwide.
Most insurance companies provide a degree of coverage for both alcohol and drug addiction treatment. Just a few of the popular insurances we accept are Health Net, Humana, Aetna, BlueCross, Blue Shield, United Healthcare, Cigna, and many more!
If you’re interested in learning more about substance abuse treatment or medication-assisted treatment, contact us, and we can discuss options that are right for you.